Time Parting and my own lack of time

I thought once I graduated that I would have this ridiculous amount of free time to blog away, write a symphony or two, solve world hunger, etc. Sadly none of this has come to fruition, hence the lack of blogging. Not sure where all the hours in the day go anymore, though work has picked up and I have tried to spend more time with family and less time writing.  That and its possible I have somewhat of a writer’s block at the moment. Lately, I’ve been fighting fires instead of solving problems and that might be why I’ve been so quiet. When I’m challenged with a new problem is when I get energized and end up writing about it. So hopefully some of the fires will smolder out soon and I can get back to trying new things.

Anywho…one thing that I’ve spent some time looking over and about to implement with some help from the Omniture Engineering crew is introducing Time Parting into my SiteCatalyst implementation. What is Time Parting? Basically it allows you to capture more granular elements of time for usage in reporting. Have you ever wanted to see how many widgets you sell at different times of the day? What time do instances of eVars and sProps happen during the day? Well, Time Parting would allow you to do it as you can basically capture a time stamp and use classifications of it. So you’d capture the time and date of say: “July 24,2009:8:00pm” and classify with SAINT to show that today is a Monday and the hour is 8 PM, or that the hour range is 8 to 9 PM or any way you want to classify it. You then would have access to reports and say “I wanna look at the last 52 Mondays” or “What does a normal Monday look like with regards to traffic and other metrics at noon”.

Those are all nice things to have, but here is how I plan to use it. Segmentation. I wrote about this a while back but Discover has one big weakeness when it comes to creating segments and its a ‘time’ dimension. You can create a segment of visitors that did this behavior, then did this other behavior, went to these pages, etc but you have no way to spell out when any of those things happened. So say I have a page that I’ve recently made changes to and wanted to look at those visitors behavior after that time frame, I can’t do it. But with Time Parting I can do that as I could create a segment that says give me all visitors that went to this page on July 24th and did this thing and then study that behavior over the next week. Or look at differences in campaigns on different days, or different promotions. So if someone comes in on Paid Search term X, how long until they come back again on a different term or tactic. It really opens up some interesting possibilities.

Quite frankly I think this kind of stuff should already exist in the tool out of the box, but its a VISTA rule if you are interested. Another wishlist item is for Omniture to do a better job of publicizing all of these VISTA rules so that the wider community knows they exist as a lot of times I stumble across them via conversions I have with folks but never see them in Knowledgebase or elsewhere. Maybe a VISTA FIESTA on the Omniture blog is needed.

OK, cool…writer’s block averted. Stay tuned.

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3 responses to “Time Parting and my own lack of time

  1. Keith Watkins

    Time parting…very nice addition.

    Can you classify localized time stamps via SAINT? My interest would be in looking at what customers did in their respective, for example, 7pm hour. This would allow an analysis of what East Coast shoppers did versus what West Coast shoppers did. This could be expanded globally too to understand a UK shopper versus a JP shopper.

    The point would be to better understand each segment’s behavior and perhaps serve “better” content, merchandising, and/or promotions to them.

  2. Jim,

    First, congrats on your recent graduation, and your ability to maintain your sanity while juggling a challenging education plan, numerous work challenges, mastery of web analytics, and your family commitments.

    I have an appreciation for not having time. I thought that when I finished the house in 2006 that I’d just knock out some of those other items like lanscape and the workshop, and get on to some of the other projects I want to do. The shop still has no roof, and I can’t explain why there is no time. I do think it has a lot to do with the launch of the forum – my second life. This weekend, we had family in for a visit, including two of my nephews ages 3 and 7 months. Young children look like a full time job in themselvess – I don’t know how you get anything else done!

    Mark

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